Wetangula meets Gachagua amid pressure to wind up Ford Kenya

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua hosted Speaker of National Assembly Moses Wetangula at his residence on Friday 12, 2024. [Courtesy, Standard]

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula last week met Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua amid pressure from UDA to fold his Ford Kenya party.

The two used the meeting, which came in the backdrop of emerging political rebellion christened ‘Tawe movement’ in Western region, to discuss the unfolding political events.

“The second and the third in command consulted on the political happenings in the country even as they discussed how to strengthen the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive,” a source confided to The Standard.

Other than the pressure to fold his party and join UDA, Wetang'ula must also be scratching his head on how to deal with the planned impeachment of his ally, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha.

Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga, Gachagua’s ally, defended the meeting, saying it should not be misconstrued as a strategy for 2027.

“It is at the National Assembly where budget and other national government policies are passed and it is not wrong for the speaker to meet Gachagua who sits at the Executive. The meeting is healthy for creation of synergy between the two arms of government,” Wamatinga told The Standard on phone.

He added that the meeting between the two leaders was important as it sought to align to ensure that all the like-minded leaders in the Kenya Kwanza administration remain committed to their cause noting ‘our success and re-election will depend on the implementation of the promises we made to Kenyans.’

On the issue of winding up Ford Kenya he said it should be voluntary and done in a democratic way.

“It is desirable to have two or three political parties facing each other in the elections as it has been happening globally and in successful governments like Chama Cha Mapinduzi in Tanzania, African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa but it should be mutual agreement,” he noted.

Wamatinga has in the past regretted that Mt Kenya region joined UDA without a local party, arguing that if the region had its party, it would have given them more say. 

"In 2013, two political parties that formed government were from Mt Kenya and the Rift Valley communities while in 2017 the two communities joined Jubilee party and the formation was informed by tough negotiations on what each party could get after forming government. We need to go back to evaluate and ask ourselves various serious questions about our political future and development,” he told Kameme FM in January.

Another source said Gachagua and Wetang'ula have the same predicaments and their meeting laid out a strategy on the way forward that will be known in the fullness of time.

While Wetang'ula is said to have remained adamant to fold his party, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary has hinted plans of folding his Amani National Congress (ANC), with speculation that the anti-Wetang'ula sloganeering could be sponsored to pile pressure on him to follow suit.

Mudavadi’s hint of another wave of political earthquake in a move he said would help strengthen his working relationship with UDA was interpreted to mean that he was ready to dissolve his party although the party officials later denied the claims.

According to political analyst Barrack Muluka, he would not be surprised that Wetangula’s woes are state sponsored to subdue him to adhere to its instructions.

“Speculations are rife that Tawe movement is bankrolled by the president to have him do as he is being ordered. But I hold the view that if he stays put, he won’t lose his influence but if backs down, it will be his political downfall,” he said.

But the claims of State sponsoring Wetangula’s downfall has been rebutted by UDA’ Secretary General Cleopas Malala who told The Standard: "We would not in any way seek to create disharmony in any of our party affiliates, but since I come from Western and being an elder brother between the two by the dint of governing the ruling party, I have invited the two leaders together for a truce later this month.”

On Gachagua’s side, his allies have opposed plans to introduce two other deputy party slots interpreting that as a plot to weaken the DP by creating several centers of power while crying foul over a plot by some quarters in government of bankrolling some youthful legislators led by Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro to checkmate him.

The allies have called for the revision of the UDA constitution to scrap deputy party leaders for program,es, operations, and policy and strategy claiming that would lead to duplication of roles and undermine Gachagua who is Mt Kenya’s high ranking politico and government official.

Nyoro’s country tours are deemed a costly affair for an MP to afford and he has been likened to a tortoise placed on a table to disorient Gachagua.

“Therefore, Gachagua and Wetang'ula could be united by fear, informed by the very person who should be cautious to disorient 2022 political arithmetic that sponsored him to Parliament. If the two decide to spoil the broth for the President, the political tide may be hard to predict,” Charles Njoroge a political analyst noted.

A senior political leader from western Kenya who did not want to be named said people should not read much in Wetang'ula's meeting with the deputy president.

According to him, the meeting centered mainly on government agenda as he was the leader of the legislature and Rigathi representing the executive.

He said the two leaders are both in the same coalition and can meet for a cup of tea and discuss government agenda. 

He insisted that issues to do with folding Ford Kenya or forming a political alliance were not part of their discussion.